Thursday 18 February 2021 2:18 pm

New US jobless claims rise unexpectedly by 861,000

Another 861,000 Americans signed up for jobless claims in the week to 13 February.

That’s a week-on-week increase of 16,000 in US jobless claims, according to the Department of Labor data.

The US government department also revised upward its jobless claims for the week prior by 55,000 extra people, when it said 848,000 made a jobless claim that week.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 765,000 applications in the latest week.

Part of the increase in claims could be related to the temporary closure of car factories beginning last week due to a global semiconductor chip shortage.

Continuing weekly claims declined again, edging lower to just below 4.5m, a drop of 64,000. The total of those receiving benefits dropped, falling by 1.3m to 18.34m.

“The one part of the economy that has remained disappointing is clearly the employment picture,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.

About 12.3mof the 22.2m jobs lost during the pandemic have been recovered. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated employment would not return to its pre-pandemic level before 2024.